About, My Happiness Project

Exercising With a Plan

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My focus for this month’s happiness project is loving my body. This includes cultivating my style, eating foods that make me feel good, accepting myself just as I am and exercising. Now I know the mention of exercise will make some people cringe. I feel like many times we turn exercise into a competitive sport. We use our exercising or lack of exercising to shame other people or ourselves. I am not about that. AT ALL.

Exercise or don’t exercise; the choice is yours. Yes, I do feel like this is a choice we are all capable of and able to make for ourselves. I am not judging you for your choice, frankly I do not care.

I like exercise. I enjoy the feeling I get when I sweat a lot, which is true most times I exercise. I am pretty sure that sweat is genetic so let’s not get competitive about that either.

My problem tends to be that sometimes I feel lost and although I want to exercise I have found over time that having a plan helps. In a way for me it provides a logical stopping point. I like having a place to stop and say I have done enough so I do not spend all day exercising.

I used to exercise because I felt I had to, or because I wanted results. A year or two ago I realized that for me, exercise provides me with mental clarity. I feel better when I exercise on a regular basis and so I try to exercise regularly. I have tried many exercise methods and I like most of them, but I find for me I tend to get bored so I need either to change my plan or have a plan that builds upon itself changing as the weeks go by. I have also found that if I try to achieve a goal instantly I will fail and feel bad, I instead do better when I break my goal down into smaller parts and incremental changes. For example, a couple years ago I wanted to build my endurance running (or more likely jogging). I wanted to be able to run for a full 45 minutes. I was unable to do so at the time. I then broke it down to what I was able to do then, my baseline was being able to run for 27 minutes and every other day when I ran, I added a minute. It took me a while, but I was able to work my way up to running 45 minutes. More recently I wanted to run at a higher speed, and I realized that my bullheaded way of just running until I felt ill was not working, I have accepted that I will build speed slowly.

Currently my plan includes four days of lifting with brief intervals of cardio (jogging on a treadmill, because it is COLD here), one day of longer cardio, and daily yoga practices. Also, when I am feeling particularly motivated I try to make sure I get in ten thousand steps.

If you are wanting to exercise and need a plan, start gradually. Begin with one thing and build. I think in more recent years I started with yoga, then added cardio and weights and finally added steps. Even steps can be broken down, start with where you are and see if you can add a thousand steps per week until you are where you want to be. Exercise is not an all or nothing pursuit. My other key is that I do NOT exercise for the results. Otherwise I would be frustrated and feel like a failure, which is not useful to anyone. Take it slow and remember you get to make the plan, you can modify and shift to make the plan work for you and only you. Also enjoy it, exercise is fun.

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